Xavier's Miller Accepts Arizona Head Coaching Job

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

Xavier coach Sean Miller is headed to Arizona.

A person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press that Miller accepted the job Monday following days of uncertainty. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Arizona hadn't announced the move. Musketeer players were being informed of the news.

Miller met with Xavier athletic director Mike Bobinski and informed the school he was leaving after five years.

The decision was first reported by Yahoo.

Miller led the Musketeers to the Elite Eight last year and received a contract extension through the 2017-18 season. Xavier reached the round of 16 again this season.

The 40-year-old coach wasn't Arizona's first choice to succeed Hall of Fame coach Lute Olson. Tim Floyd rejected an offer to stay at Southern California.

Miller had a 120-47 record in five seasons at Xavier, guiding the team to the NCAA tournament four times. This year's team went 27-8 and made it to the East Regional semifinals before falling to Pittsburgh.

He reportedly flew to Albuquerque, N.M., on Sunday to meet with athletic director Jim Livengood and University of Arizona president Robert Shelton. Miller returned to Cincinnati later in the day aboard a private jet owned by an Arizona booster.

Miller will inherit a program with an elite reputation but short on talent because of its tenuous coaching situation.

Olson took a leave of absence in the 2007-08 season but planned to return last fall. Just before the season started, he retired for health reasons.

Russ Pennell took over as interim coach with the understanding that he would not be Olson's permanent replacement. Pennell guided the team to a 21-14 record and the program's 25th consecutive NCAA tournament appearance.

The Wildcats made a surprising run to the Midwest Regional semifinals before being routed by Louisville. Two prominent members of the team, juniors Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill, are expected to leave for the NBA. Junior point guard Nic Wise also may turn pro.

That would leave Miller with a major rebuilding job because the program has essentially missed two recruiting seasons, not counting the current one.

Miller signed a 10-year contract extension with Xavier after the team went 30-7 and reached the regional finals in 2007-08. But the private Cincinnati school apparently could not match the Arizona offer. Arizona reportedly was willing to spend at least $2 million per year.

Miller is a close friend and former assistant at North Carolina State to Arizona State coach Herb Sendek. He was lead assistant to Thad Matta for three seasons at Xavier before taking over when Matta left in 2004.


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